Buckwheat Flying Apron Biscuits
I have to admit something. You know how I mentioned that we follow a primarily plant-based diet as a family? The stress is on the "primarily." There's that other part of our diet that's indulgent and allows in some animal products.
We've been on a cookie bender since the holidays, with no sign of a let up. Before Christmas, my daughter made a batch of Tex-Mex polvorones, pecan shortbread cookies crisped with butter and dredged in powdered sugar. These were staples of my mother's holiday baking, and what a proud mama I was when my daughter decided to keep that tradition going.
Polvorones (Pecan Sandies)
Gingerbread cookies made up the main activity on several December play dates. My boys and their friends decorated three batches of gingerbread cookies and made Not Martha's wee gingerbread houses.
(Just a reminder to myself for next Christmas baking season: Megan's advice to chill the dough both before rolling it out and after cutting the house shapes made the cooked shapes precise and build-ready. And I think the perfect crisp gingerbread recipe can be found on the back cover of Jim Aylesworth's Gingerbread Man. Extra bonus: we sat down in the warm kitchen while the cookies baked and enjoyed the hypnotic repetition of the text and the vintage-looking illustrations by Barbara McClintock.)
And for those of you keeping track, those polvorones are made with butter--from a cow--and the gingerbread also, along with one farm-fresh egg--from a chicken. Decidedly non-plant-based, though technically still vegetarian.
And to combat the chill outside in January, we have heated up the stove and made batches of vegan chocolate chip cookies (which were gobbled up after the middle school orchestra concert last night; my husband says that most kids will eat ANYTHING involving chocolate) and peanut butter cookies. And that's just this week.
So how do I justify these little indulgences? The house heats up nicely and fills with that lovely toasty-sweet aroma that wraps around us and buffers us from the winter chill. The kids take a break from the Wii and the TV and the computer and actually converse with me and each other. They spill juicy details about their day. Those add up to a pretty hefty spiritual payoff to me, all for the cost of a cookie.
The kids have even tried my gluten-free, vegan (GFV) cookie experiments. Last weekend I was well into whipping up the Flying Apron's GFV Buckwheat Biscuit recipe (yes, buckwheat is gluten-free!) before I realized that the biscuits weren't savory but sweet, as in English biscuits (what we Yanks would call cookies). My version turned out looking a little like hockey pucks, but they have the texture of a shortbread cookie (which is a texture I have found hard to achieve with gluten-free flours) and remind me of that distinctive sweet crunch of a graham cracker. They go nicely with a cup of hot tea.
Before my blood sugar and waistband get me off this cookie-based diet, I plan to try a decadent-sounding gluten-free peanut butter cookie recipe sent by my friend Jillian. These GFV cookie recipes from the Gluten-Free Goddess may be worth the calories.
If you decide to indulge as well, let me know, and we can have a virtual January tea-and-cookie klatch to chase away the winter blahs. I'd love to discuss how you balance that tricky divide between healthy eating and indulgence. And maybe you can give me a little advice about the biggest question I faced over the holidays: how do you honor beloved food traditions and adhere to a healthy diet? (Frankly, sticking to the gluten-free, vegan diet over the holidays made me a little nuts, and others as well!)